Description: What will your customers buy? Next week? Next month? Next year? The answer to these questions can be found in looking at emerging product trends. No matter what category you sell in, product trends will influence the inventory you buy in 2009 and beyond. Please join Lisa Suttora, Founder of eBay Certified Provider WhatDoISell.com, as she discusses the 7 product trends that will impact your online sales this year . A noted trend authority, Lisa will introduce you to the year’s top consumer trends and show you how to apply them to YOUR business!
Product trends drive most EVERY sale you make! Each year more than 30,000 new products come into the U.S. marketplace alone. Add to that the millions of existing products available to sell and knowing what your customers want to buy becomes all the more important.
So how do you know what your customers will buy next week? Next month? Next season?
The answer can be found in product trends.
Each year product trends morph and change. And it’s important to be aware of these trends so you can source the types of products people will be looking for in the coming year!
If you don't know what's going on in the world of trends, product sourcing can be a struggle and even worse you can easily end up selling products that aren’t in demand.
In today’s workshop we’ll discuss the 7 product trends and the 10 BONUS micro trends that will influence your sales in 2009 and beyond!
The workshop content is directly below. After you’ve read through today’s workshop, I’ll be here to answer your questions about the product trends and how to apply trending information to YOUR business.
We are in an age of product innovation the likes of which has never been seen before. Technology, long-tail niche marketing, and the reach of global markets means there are more products than ever available to sell, and more choices for consumers.
This is a good thing for online sellers! However it’s important to cut through the mass of product choices and be able to decipher what the trends are in your industry.
In order to find out what your customers want to buy, you must live in the world that they live in. Read what they’re reading. Watch what they’re watching. Spend time in the places they gather online and off.
Whether it’s an online discussion forum or a meeting of the local crafting association, if you want to know what your customers want and what they are buying, hang out where they do on a regular basis.
Before we delve into the 7 product trends for this year, it’s important to take a moment to distinguish the difference between a trend and a fad.
Because often times, people will mistake a trend for a fad.
Fads come out of nowhere. They are fueled by popularity until they burst into a full buying frenzy… and then quickly fizzle out.
A trend on the other hand, is based on consumer needs and lifestyle changes. Product trends happen as a reflection of a change in consumer lifestyles and demands.
The most famous FAD of all time was the Pet Rock. It only lasted 6 months yet this fad was so big, 5 million pet rocks were sold. You couldn’t build a business out it, but it was a great short term money maker.
Here’s a current example, there’s a new fad that’s popped - hanging fish pods. Its a little fish pod that you hang on your wall and put a goldfish in. It’s a cute idea, but not too practical.
Compare that fad to trend towards large, elaborate, home aquariums.
The hanging fish pod will be popular for a while and then go by the wayside. While the trend in unique home aquariums will continue to morph and grow.
At the forefront of product trends in almost every category is the influence of green or eco-friendly products.
And this is a trend that is not going away. Green is fast becoming a lifestyle for many consumers and has rapidly moved into mainstream buying habits.
By 2010, sales of natural/organic products are expected to reach 100 billion dollars annually.
But whereas green products were once deemed a luxury and people were willing to pay more for them, today’s consumers are now looking at green products as an everyday necessity and are in the market for affordable green products.
Even if you don’t want to fully “go green” with your product line, you definitely want to carry some green product options in your product line.
More and more, buyers these days are becoming “situationally” green. They don’t buy everything organic or eco-friendly, but they WILL buy eco-friendly products in the areas that are important to them.
A buyer might not eat organic food but he may be interested in energy consumption issues and therefore buy energy saving products.
A tech gadget aficionado with and eco-friendly interest will gravitate towards the latest eco-friendly gadget offerings but may not be interested in purchasing eco-friendly furniture.
Let’s look at a few examples of product categories that now feature eco-friendly or green products:
•Furniture •Pet supplies and accessories •Electronic products and gadgets •Solar power systems and products for home •Kitchenware – dishes, cooking tools etc. •Cleaning products and tools
The market for baby and children’s products has grown to a multi-billion dollar market in the US alone and it shows no signs of slowing down. This is also one area where parents, grandparents and friends are inclined to splurge. Nothing is too good for baby or child.
But the kid’s product market is very different than the products of the past.
Because kids are “livin’ large!”
Older and more affluent parents are driving the greatest growth in the kid’s products niche.
PARTICULARLY in the demand for high quality products and convenience items designed to save time.
Technology is also impacting the products that parents buy. Technology enhanced products have impacted every sub-niche in this category.
Eco-friendly products are also a huge trending influence in the children’s products that people buy.
For the past several years, it been about outfitting the “McMansions” – oversized homes that required oversized furniture, accessories and small kitchen appliances.
But with the change in the current housing market, we’re seeing a lot of people downsizing to smaller homes. And with that comes the need for smaller furniture. An overstuffed chair and ottoman won’t fit in an 11 x 17 living room. A 6’ tall bronze statue will over power a normal sized hallway.
With the move to smaller homes comes a need for scaled down furniture and accessories, a trend that has already started to manifest itself for many online sellers.
Recently, one eBay PowerSeller told me that his biggest sales increase was in the area of European styled furniture. Designs known for their compact footprint but that don’t sacrifice style or comfort.
Does the product you sell have more than one use? If so, you have the potential to sell a lot of them!
Products that serve multiple purposes are flying off the shelves. The research shows that when consumers think that they will use a product in more than one way, they more likely to purchase that product and spend more for it.
For example, bicycle sales have picked up because they can serve multiple functions. An eco-friendly way to commute to work, a tool for getting in shape and a way to connect with the whole family and have some fun at the same time make the bicycle look like a great deal!
We’ve also seen the types of bicycles that are selling and the accessories that go with them change. For the work commuter, lighter, faster bicycles have risen in popularity. For the neighborhood commuter, sturdy bicycles that can be outfitted with packs to carry groceries to and from the store are big!
With waistlines growing around the world, it is no secret that health and fitness products are selling in a big way. But there is a particular trend that is of interest which is spurring sales in a way that we’ve never seeing before!
Baby Boomer health & fitness. In the minds of today’s baby boomers, there is no pre-determined fitness level that comes with a particular age.
Baby boomers want to stay in shape and they’re purchasing the products to make sure that happens.
Products that provide functional fitness - such as jogging clothes and accessories and in-home exercise equipment are only part of the story when it comes to baby boomer fitness.
Recreational exercise products – those that provide both fun and a social component are selling like crazy.
With travel down, and fewer people looking to “go out” these same folks are staying home and focusing on ways to recreate experiences within the comforts of their own homes.
Home entertainment, home exercise equipment, and home cooking are all areas that have experienced resurgence in popularity. And with this has come resurgence in the products that support these goals.
Espresso machines are just one example of a product that is benefitting from this consumer trend.. A way to make coffee at home and a product that can be used when entertaining friends – spending several hundred dollars on an espresso machine provides a customer with a long term return on their investment.
Game, craft and hobby purchases are also up, as consumers look for things to do to keep the fun in their lives without breaking the bank on an expensive trip. And finally, being home all the time means more time spent looking at all those home repairs that need to be done!
As a result, home repair products, tools and supplies are becoming a popular purchase. Even though the trend is down in remodeling, fixing or improving their homes a step at a time has become a popular pastime for today’s shoppers.
Sales of maintenance products such as lawn mowers and home cleaning machines are also on the rise!
Micro-trends are smaller consumer and product trends. Not as wide sweeping as the trends above, but are changing what people buy none the less.
The following list of micro-trends will give you insights into some fresh, new products that people are shopping for.
1.Watches that don’t tell time. With cell phones being the primary timekeeper these days, watches now serve another purpose, fashion! Watches that are pieces of art or fashion statements are rising in popularity.
2.Old is new. Due in part to a desire to be eco friendly and in part to spend more responsibly, consumers are turning to pre-owned goods to satisfy their shopping needs. Why buy a brand new land mower when a quality pre-owned machine will do the job for less money?
3.Spirituality and peace of mind products. In times of stress and trouble, people who wouldn’t normally describe themselves as spiritual turn to a higher power for comfort. Whether Zen products or more traditional religious symbols sales of products that represent peace and spirituality are on the rise.
4.Comfort products. Fuzzy slippers, a warm bathrobe, a baking dish to make your favorite casserole? Comfort product sales are on the rise. If it makes you feel better, people are buying it.
5.Eco-friendly footwear. Shoes made from natural material, such as cork soled shoes are gaining in popularity among the fashion conscious and the earth conscious consumers. Sandals made from old tires are going to be seeing more and more this summer.
6.Motorcycles for women. More and more women are taking to the open road, and motorcycles and accessories designed specifically for women are selling strong!
7.Weddings that break from tradition. Flowing white dress? Traditional tuxedo? Not these days! More and more weddings and the products that go with them are breaking away from the traditional and going to the experiential. How about a luau themed wedding or a masquerade ball bridal gown.
8.Affordable haute couture. While those with significant disposable income are still spending their money on $900 handbags and $2000 business suits, affordable haute couture clothes – with a designer look and feel but and affordable price tag are in high demand.
9.Solar powered gadget chargers. Got a gadget? Need to charge it? Now shoppers can stop looking for the closest wall outlet and let a solar powered gadget charger do the job!
10.Protective cases for today’s hottest gadgets. Whether you carry a Kindle or an iPhone, you want to protect your investment – and there’s a whole slew of new products coming into the marketplace to do that!
In the world of online retail, trust drives sales.
As an online seller you operate in a trustworthy manner but it’s of EQUAL importance to SELL your trust with each and every contact you make with your customer. Whether this is through your listing description or a post-sale email, it is up to you to sell your trustworthiness to your customer as an “add on” to every item you sell.
Consider these statistics that were compiled by a recent UK Customer Trust Survey.
If a company earns consumer trust, 42 per cent will buy more products and over half (54 per cent) will recommend the product to others.
If a company loses the trust, three out of four (76 per cent) say they will simply stop buying from them. Still think trust isn’t a consumer trend?
People buy from those they know, like and trust. Tell your customer everything they need to know about you, your business, your service, your products, your shipping and your guarantees.
After you've finished reading the content of today's Product Trends workshop, I'm hear to answer your most important questions about product trends, where to spot them and how to apply them to your business.
Lisa what types of jewelry are ebay customers buying, is it more of the higher end diamond rings and earings etc or is it more of the colored gemstones? i am thinking about starting to use ebay to sell my gemstone jewelry but i am a little overwhelmed at the thought of putting up all my jewelry (10,000 + sku's) and not getting the response i would hope for
Welcome to the workshop kimbesascloset! Great question! Yes, the market for pre-owned goods is definitely expanding - what we are seeing a large increase in is the market for pre-owned non-vintage goods.
Products that are 1-3 years old, but used are becoming popular alternatives to purchasing a newer version of that product.
With vintage goods, we are seeing collectors still snapping up the unique one of a kind items.
We are seeing a somewhat of a dip in the less collectible pre-owned vintage goods.
But there is another aspect to buying pre-owned goods and that is the eco-friendly group. The concept of buying pre-owned has really caught on with this demographic.
So what we will see as we come out of this current economy is a whole new group of customers who will continue to buy pre-owned as they have come to realize the benefits of purchasing after market products.
The jewelry market has been interesting because the unique one of a kind pieces are selling well. And gemstones have been very popular the past few years.
What I would absolutely recommend are these steps:
1. Research the current market/competition and see what is selling well on eBay. You will find that certain pieces, styles price ranges will sell and others there is not a market for.
2. Once you see what the competition is doing, determine where the gap is. What products do you offer that they are not offering. Your goal is to be unique and fill the gap that your potential competitors are not.
3. Before you upload all your SKU's test market different styles and prices. Also test listing format.
I recommend the 30 Day Fixed Price format.
4. You will find, once you have a presence on eBay that there is a sweet spot for your products and your positioning. But you'll want to see what is right for you.
Once you see what works on eBay, focus on expanding around those products and building repeat business.
You can amass quite a following for jewelry related products, especially if you focus on great customer service.
But you need to make sure that you first establish which styles there is a market for on eBay.
Hi attics_usa_llc Good to you here! There are definite trends in the Antiques and Collectibles categories - in fact their are so many niches within that, that you will find trends in each sub-niche or micro-niche.
The first thing I would recommend is that you connect with some of the industry publications, discussion groups and websites that surround your niche.
For example, I have a client who sells historical memorabilia and he is dialed in with groups all over the country (including newsletters, publications and other people who are interested in that niche) so he has first hand information with the trends.
Use the web for research to find discussion groups and communities who deal in your particular niche.
Even connecting with different sellers across the country can give you valuable insights into where the trends are.
But there many sites online that talk about the popularity of products in the antiques and collectibles market -
I also recommend reading any consumer publications in your niche - magazines that you'd find at a full service bookstore. Because they always talk about trends in the market as well.
You can find this type of information online too, buy Googling the keyword for your niche + trend.
vintage fabric + trends
You'll need to do a little detective work, but once you get dialed in, you will find everything you need to know!
Another tip on understanding the trends in your niche. Getting connected with people who are also immersed in those trends can be one of the most valuable ways to keep your finger on the pulse of the trend.
How many people do you currently hang out with in your industry?
Hi Lisa, I am selling New, gently used clothing. I guess I am stuck on if I should or what else I can add to make this a full time income. I work VERY hard in looking at clothes, taking pics, downloading ect. And I always get right back to my customers if they need anything. I just wanted to see if you have any suggestions for me on this topic? Thank you so much, Jen Holdren
Hi jennifer-7556, Great to see you here! Seeing you here just reminded me that I meant to send you an email! I made a note to do it after this workshop!
Anyway to answer your question - I know that you are starting out in this niche, and toughest thing with the new, gently used clothing niche is building up the volume.
You're right in that clothing (especially pre-owned) can take a lot of time to photograph and list because you need to do each individual item separately.
One of the ways around that is to supplment with more new clothes that you can order from supplier or (and this is what I would recommend) branch out into accessories.
So for example, for the kids clothes niche - backpacks, leotards, summer shoes, belts, beach towels etc.
The other thing you really need to take into consideration is price point.
For example, if you are selling a cotton t-shirt, that will not command a high price.
A christening dress will be a more expensive item with a higher profit margin.
The way to approach this is to start with the end dollar amount in mind and work backwards.
For example, I need to earn $7000 per month, my average profit per item is x amount of dollars. This means that I either need to increase the number of items I sell or increase the price/profit margins of the new inventory I bring in.
It will be a combination of both that will get you to your goal.
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